The television matriarch has certainly come a long way. Gone are the days when June Cleaver and Donna Stone stayed home all day and kept the house immaculate while wearing spotless dresses and glamorous pearls. These days, TV moms bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, make some awesome BLT’s, and look hot while doing it.
Take for example Susan Mayer (Teri Hatcher) on Desperate Housewives. Throughout the series, she’s been married three times, divorced twice and had two children more than ten years apart. She also made the difficult career change from published author to preschool teacher. Her most important achievement, however, is that she has managed to stay sexy and beautiful for seven years (or ten according to the timeline on Wisteria Lane).
Then there are the tough, ass-kicking moms. CSI ‘s Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger) always gets the bad guy and still finds time to be a great single mother to her teenage daughter. I also have to acknowledge Nancy Botwin (Mary Louise Parker) on Weeds. Often putting her own safety on the back burner, she protects her two sons against every kind of drug dealing criminal in existence. Most importantly, she knows how to use her extreme hotness as her most effective weapon.
Sela Ward seems to have made a career out playing single moms. As Lily Manning (Once and Again) she struggled to raise two teenagers, find a cool guy to date, and begin a new career while facing the pressures of being a woman in her forties. Currently as Jo Danville (CSI: New York) she is the hottest 55-year-old crime fighting TV Mom on the east coast.
If I had to choose the actress that best exemplifies what a TV Mom should be, I would have to go with Lauren Graham. Her portrayal of Lorelai Gilmore (Gilmore Girls) showed America that getting pregnant at sixteen is nothing to be envied but if it does happen, it’s survivable. Lorelai was able to own and manage a successful inn and raise a smart and beautiful daughter that any parent would be proud of. Nowadays, Graham shows the other side of being a single Mom as Sarah Braverman on Parenthood. Her kids are a definite handful but Sarah is never above asking for help from her extended family. Whether she’s tending bar or fetching coffee, she is a true SuperMom.
Along with Shirley Partridge (The Partridge Family), Cordelia Chase (Angel), Christine Campbell (The New Adventures of Old Christine), and Elaine Nardo (Taxi) these women have set a standard for TV Moms who are smart, sexy and strong and that is just how I like them.